The First Doculipso Celebrates 55 Years of Carnival in Toronto


King Cosmos is one of Canada’s most recognized Calypsonians.  This year (2022), the King decided to record a tribute song honoring the Emerald Anniversary of Caribana and Toronto Carnival called “55 Still Alive.”  The song has become an anthem not only in Toronto but in Trinidad too!

VP:  How did you get your start in the business?

KC:  I began as a pre-teenager marvelling at how others sang and played an instrument. I thought it was magical.  Next, I began teaching myself to play the guitar and steelpan. I led my own combo (Al G And The Gems) for a while. At carnival time in Trinidad, I also played in Guinness Cavaliers, one of the top steelbands.

In Canada, I became an actor; but the music kept pulling at me. I entered a calypso competition in 1981. Then I began composing and recording my own calypsos and hybrid Caribbean music.

VP:  What was your first notable project?

KC:  It was an album (vinyl) called Culture Shock that I financed and produced myself.

VP:  What was your first breakthrough

KC:  I don’t know if I’ve had a breakthrough; but I’ve had significant achievements. eg; winning the Canadian Calypso Monarch title (1995), being a Sunshine Award nominee (1998), winning a Canadian Reggae Music award (1998), winning a Canadian Urban Music award (2005) and receiving significant international attention for 55 STILL ALIVE, my commemorative docu-lipso about the Caribana / Toronto Carnival. The fact that the CBC broadcasted it means a lot. Performing to audiences in the thousands in the Philippines and performing at this year’s King and Queen show at Lamport Stadium are also very significant. Completing my second master’s degree (Thesis based on “storming” in the Caribana parade is also significant to me).

VP:  What are you working on now/ next?

KC:  I am working on a calypso / soca version of Hallelujah, and a Latin / soca medley of old favourites like Besame Mucho, Solamente Una Vez, Perfidia, El Reloj.

VP:  What songs are you listening to on Spotify / Apple Music / Pandora / Audiomack?

KC:  As I am in my busiest season, these artists and more give me inspiration. I enjoy music from Lord Kitchener, Mighty Sparrow, Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Bunji Garlin and FayAnn Lysons.  You can be sure that their music (and mine) are being played in my duties as President of Organization of Calypso Performing Artistes. Also at the live Calypso shows I supervise as well as at Toronto’s Harbourfront Stage and upcoming at Carnival City in Ajax.

Stream Soca Gold on Spotify